The Passing of Ethnic Studies Ph.D. student Ashley C. Phillips
June 13, 2022
It is with sadness that the Department of Ethnic Studies announces the untimely passing of Ethnic Studies Ph.D. student Ashley C. Phillips (1994 cohort) on May 26th. His classmate and Ethnic Studies Lecturer Michael Chang shares these memories.
Many classmates of Ashley’s and those in the years above and below his cohort remember his friendly and outgoing nature and the many parties he held at his home. When I was first accepted into the Ph.D. program Ashley was assigned by the department as my “buddy.” He opened up the cozy home he shared in El Cerrito with a roommate from his home state of Nebraska and I flew in from Chicago for a couple of weeks in the summer of 1995 to find an apartment and prepare for classes. Ashley took me on a tour of the department, the university and Berkeley and we became fast friends. His open hearted and fun loving nature were apparent from the start. His roommate, visiting college friends and I visited Napa Valley (the first time for me), and Los Angeles. In L.A., we all slept in sleeping bags on the floor of the one bedroom apartment of a college friend of my then girlfriend (now wife) and that college friend has been married to Ashley’s college classmate for 25 years. He was a connector and was passionate about working to advance services for Native American persons. While in the Ph.D program he also worked as the Executive Director of a health advocacy group for Native American persons. He did this work with the same enthusiasm, sense of humor and open hearted nature that he had for meeting new friends. I had not kept in touch with Ashley for many years and had been meaning to reach out to him. While I wasn’t able to reconnect with him more recently, I am grateful that I was able to have known him. You may find some more information at the following funeral home site: